As a complement to Robert Cunningham’s reflections on the day, we are happy to provide you with Nick Woolley’s slides from the MmIT AGM on 17 December 2013.
Hope to see you at our next event!
Our newest committee member, Robert Cunningham, has written a concise and informative report on Nick Woolley’s fascinating talk at the MmIT AGM event at CILIP in London on 17th December. Thank you to Nick for his lecture, and thank you to Robert for this report. Read Catherine Dhanjal’s report about Andy Tattersall’s talk here.
“Connectivity and the 21st century: the power of digital technology to connect knowledge and communities”
by Robert Cunningham
Nick Woolley, Head of Academic Library Services at Northumbria University, was the second of our guest speakers at the 2013 AGM.
The theme for Nick’s presentation was the importance of linking the physical library and its resources with digital technology. Nick began his presentation by giving an overview of the use of technology at Northumbria University, including their new “Digital First Strategy”. Although Nick is a strong proponent of digital technologies, he reminded delegates that physical library resources are resurgent: although e-readers have been on the market for half a decade already, they are yet to defeat print books in many people’s choice of reading material.
However, Nick argued that a library’s physical resources are not limited to traditional print books and journals. Instead, it is important to remember that the physical spaces in the library building are still in high demand as students increasingly want to collaborate with each other using mobile technologies. As a consequence, Nick underlined the importance of connecting the physical and digital libraries by wowing delegates with real-life examples. The AGM was especially impressed by Nick’s demonstration of NFC (Near Field Communication for those who aren’t sure) in which he tapped his smartphone against a university library book fitted with an RFID tag. To exclamations in the room, the book and smartphone communicated with each other in a conversation that could revolutionise library transactions.
Even more futuristic than NFC, Nick also discussed the possibilities provided by wearable technology (e.g. clothing and jewellery) as well as augmented reality. He prophesied that the latter in particular is exciting for libraries as it could allow directional information to be overlaid into your field of vision when strolling around the library shelves.
Like the other guest speakers at December’s AGM, Nick’s underlying theme was – quite coincidentally – that technology should be used not for the sake of it, but instead to underpin and enhance sound pedagogy. He said that the “digital divide” between physical and electronic information is becoming less apparent because the library is already digital and that technology should be used to connect the two. By doing this, technology can become an enabler; giving new possibilities for the data libraries collect in demonstrating value and informing student progression and retention. However, technology should be servant not master: the important thing is to choose suitable technologies and exploit them to their fullest potential.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the MmIT Group, visit: http://www.cilip.org.uk/multimedia-information-and-technology-group/about-mmit-special-interest-group
As an information specialist at the University of Sheffield, Andy Tattersall’s role is to investigate perpetually changing technology, to ascertain its implications and to find ways for academics to use it without it distracting them from their academic focus. A tough challenge.
In his address at the Multimedia Information & Technology AGM at Cilip in December, we found out how Andy focuses on helping those who will consider using technology and looks for opportunities to help them to become more efficient.
Essential to working successfully in a LIS role is the ability to make connections outside their field and to be good at working, emphasises Andy. He’s involved in many groups across the university from marketing to learning and technology – concentrating on taking technology and making it understandable.
Solving Genuine Challenges
Identifying organisational problems and where technology can help overcome these helps to embed technology within the university.
Finding accommodation for meetings can be a problem. Using technology can also help to overcome transport problems and to overcome challenges posed by bad weather such as snow. As a result of Andy’s efforts, a senior lecturer is now using Google Hangouts with her PhD students, for example.
Using tools such as Google Drive and Chromebooks are helping to ensure that students and professors have vital documents such as PhDs, medical data or dissertations securely backed up.
Devising individual solutions to individual problems is also essential in helping academics with issues such as:
Disseminating information about the possibilities of technology is another core part of the role. At ScHARR, Andy and his colleagues run regular ScHARR Bitesize sessions – 20 minute slots where they ‘show and tell’ new technology. They’ve run 75 sessions to date, helping people to be enthusiastic learners.
Spotting trends is also essential and Andy highlighted gamification and the greater use of mobile technology as two which are key. Trends to watch in 2014 include:
Andy can be contacted at: email@example.com He is also MMIT Group’s Secretary.
If you’re interested in finding out more about MMIT Group, visit: http://www.cilip.org.uk/multimedia-information-and-technology-group/about-mmit-special-interest-group
Cover image © Ruslana Stovner | Dreamstime Stock Photos www.dreamstime.com
Our November issue has a special focus on eBooks and journals.
Coming up in 2014
February: Focus on sight and sound
A recent FreePint webinar examined the topic of “Authoritative Analysis: Because 24/7 News is Too Risky“.
The speakers, Stephen Foley of the Financial Times and Cynthia Lesky of Threshold Information Services, offered two perspectives on work – from that of a business journalist and research analyst respectively. At first sight, perhaps, the two might not have too much in common but it soon became clear that they actually face similar challenges.
It’s also worth taking a look at my previous post on the Changes at Channel 4 to discover how the challenges of a broadcast news programme also dovetail into those faced by print (online) journalists and business researchers.
In her intro we heard from FreePint’s director of research, Robin Neidorf, that in this era of unprecedented news output with daily or twice daily ‘official’ news plus constant feeds and updates, it’s hard for journalists, researchers and the public to sort through the unrelenting volume of raw material and work out what’s relevant.
Stephen made the point that news used to be hard to get, now it’s hard to evaluate and it can be difficult to determine how factual or accurate news is. Repetition has become important and we should be wary of believing a ‘fact’ is true or authoritative just because it’s been repeated many times. Taking a pause to evaluate whether or not something’s likely to be true before (eg) retweeting is a valuable tip. (On this note, take a look at GigaOM’s post on Twitter and news errors.)
Journalism now is more about offering a layer of interpretation over data which is complex or could be misconstrued (eg legal matters) – also the data alone may not be enough, a base of trusted contacts to offer analysis of the data remains invaluable.
Cynthia also made the point that published data should also be taken with a pinch of salt and is no substitute for industry experience – she had the situation where a newspaper published the production capacity of a new factory only for her to realise thanks to previous experience in the sector that it was out by a factor of 100!
Stephen is on Twitter @stephenfoley
Cynthia is on Twitter @threshinfo
FreePint is on Twitter @freepint
Olivia Greenstreet’s ‘Favourite Tipples’ have been chosen for inclusion in FreePint’s newsletter this week.
Read all about her choices here:
Olivia is one of the web managers for CILIP’s Multimedia Information and Technology special interest group and in her spare time helps manage the blog, writes articles and updates the website for the committee.
Technology producer for Channel 4 news, Geoff White, provided a fascinating insight into how news stories make it onto air and the changing role of broadcast news organisations.
For example, on Monday morning a prospect list of eight stories were mooted for that evening’s news show. In fact just three of those stories ended up making it onto the programme. They were chosen for their original journalism, because Channel 4 had a unique angle on the story or because they had a reporter at the location able to provide specific insights.
In the same way that librarians and information professionals are increasingly required to multi-task, TV producers are too required to juggle a number of tasks. Geoff might find and substantiate stories, source ‘voices’, a filming location, commission graphics, direct the cameraman, edit the VT and sometimes even shoot the VT.
Competition from consumer mobile devices and the web is hotting up – in an era when people with an iPhone can not only shoot video but edit it and have it online in minutes, broadcast news needs to be able to offer something above and beyond. And it’s not only amateur journalists that are causing broadcasters to change their game, print specialists such as The Guardian are no longer confining themselves to the written medium, if there’s an opportunity to record unique VT to illustrate a print story then they’ll take it and add it to their website.
Whilst online mediums such as Google and Facebook are becoming the new gatekeepers of information, established brands such as BBC and Channel 4 news are currently winning the trust stakes. “Most people don’t want an infinity of information,” Geoff declared – “they’re looking for a trusted guide to give them the expertise and the context” of stories… just as library users are seeking trusted, experienced guides to help them navigate, learn and experience… and to give them something above and beyond what they can get for themselves from a search engine…
A note from the chair on ‘Cloud busting: demystifying ‘the Cloud’ and its impact on libraries’
With just under two weeks to go until our national ‘Cloudbusting’ conference it’s safe to say MmIT is getting quite excited. With such a rich programme and so many great speakers it looks set to be a truly great conference. We hope you are able to join us in Sheffield on April 5th as there are still a few places left.
The concept of ‘the Cloud’ has been around for several years. Over that time the term has become ubiquitous with a general acceptance that ‘the Cloud’ has a definite impact on the way in which we use computers and information technology and how individuals interact with information. It is widely regarded that cloud computing can simplify processes for organisations and save them money and as a result many of the benefits associated with the ‘Cloud’ have been around efficiencies and effectiveness of services.
Many services that libraries have traditionally offered have been migrated into cloud solutions. For example the use of OpenURL providers and federated and pre-indexed search engines allowing users to search all of a library’s collections through a single search box. Discovery layers such as Serials Solutions’ Summon, EBSCO’s EDS or Ex Libris’s Primo Central allow access to all of a library’s collections, not simply those found on the library catalogue. Such discovery layers can provide enhanced service such as access to special collections, digital collections and institutional repositories.
Similarly, the ‘Cloud’ allows libraries to share data about their collections and the bibliographic management activities that they are engaged in. This includes licensing data, common vendor files, serials publications patterns and MARC records.
Add to this entire systems hosted in the Cloud, such as the Koha and Ex Libris Alma library management systems, or reference and citation management systems such as Mendeley, then it is simple to see the impact that the Cloud has on libraries, and indeed vice versa.
Even simple initiatives such as collaborative working through Google Docs, enabling a library community through Facebook or storing photographic collections in Flickr are all examples of how the Cloud has become part of the day to day computing and technology activity of the library.
MmIT strives to raise awareness amongst library and information professionals about current trends and topics in library and information technology and ‘Cloud’ initiatives and innovations, and how they are currently being used within the sector will be of interest to many librarians and information professionals who may not even realise the wealth of ‘Cloud’ activities and solutions available to them. The conference includes a series of workshops, each one focusing on a particular ‘Cloud’ initiative. This includes topics such as implementing Opensource library management systems; How libraries can make the most of mobile devices to access cloud resources; Creating media-rich e-book resources; Implications for research data management; Copyright and licensing issues associated with the ‘Cloud’, and much more. The keynote presentation will be from Karen Blakeman and will focus on search and discovery within the ‘Cloud’ and the conference will also include a series of rapid fire technical innovation presentations and a panel question and answer session.
For further information please see the MmIT Events pages:
MmIT group members can now download the latest issue of our journal from the CILIP website. Log in with your usual CILIP website user name and password or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a reminder.
Institutional subscribers should visit: www.mmitjournal.org.uk
February 2013 issue includes:
A big thank-you to everyone who was involved in the MmIT conference at the University of Sheffield on the 17th of April 2012, both to those who attended and those who helped & presented. There has been some excellent coverage of the event, with a fine summary written by Olivia Greenstreet in Information Today Europe. Notable blog entries may also be found at student volunteer’s Lady Pen’s Treasure Trove, first-time conference attendee Sensible Shoes and (another) student volunteer’s Michelle’s Library Stuff. For those with a view to reading the Twitter activity associated with the conference, the Information Resources Group at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield provide an excellent set of links on their ScHARR entry.
Photographs taken by Sarah Cole Photography may be found on Flickr. A full overview of the day’s sessions can be found on the MmIT website; some slides are already collected for viewing elsewhere in this blog, and more details about others which will be accessible shall be available shortly.
Watch this blog for information about the MmIT 2013 conference, which the group are sure will be even more of a success than this year!